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working with reala 500D?


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#1 maya czep

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:20 PM

hi everyone,

i'm a bit new to the cinematography scene so please bear with me. i'm shooting a film on reala 500D 16mm and lighting with tungsten indoors. I'm trying to create 3 different lighting situations: slightly warm soft and low key, cool soft low key, and neutral soft high key. as i am replacing a previous dp, we have very little time (if any) to do more tests. Is there a way to maximize the blue/green shadow areas in the cool light set-ups and how would this be done without mussing the skin tones? should i use an 80a AND a 1/2 blue on some of the lights to get that slightly cooler light? i'm planning to overexpose 1 stop (not incl. filter comp.) is this enough? any help would be great, thanks!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:21 PM

Why are you using 500D stock for a tungsten-lit scene?
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#3 maya czep

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 08:00 PM

Why are you using 500D stock for a tungsten-lit scene?


thanks for responding! I really like the effects it gets with practicals like flourescents etc. the whole scene will be filled with various lights: clear christmas lights, halogen, flourescents, and various gelled lights. there are so many different light sources that the previous dp decided to go with 500D, so that is what i am left with.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 08:21 PM

thanks for responding! I really like the effects it gets with practicals like flourescents etc. the whole scene will be filled with various lights: clear christmas lights, halogen, flourescents, and various gelled lights. there are so many different light sources that the previous dp decided to go with 500D, so that is what i am left with.


Yes, but that doesn't mean you should key with tungsten, and gelling them with Full CTB will cut the light output way down (and so would using the 80A filter). Generally you would use HMI's or daylight Kinos, etc. for the key and let the Reala handle mixed colors in the background.

Now I guess if you want a really warm look you could use tungsten with 1/2 CTB correction for a half-orange look. Shoot a grey scale under full-correction and then use the half-corrected tungstens for the scene so that they read warm.
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#5 maya czep

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 08:57 PM

thanks for the tip. Unfortunately I don't have access to either HMI or Kino's, so I may have to overexpose even more.. so if i overexposed 2 or 3 stops, do you think the tungstens would be enough with a full or 3/4CTB for the cooler scenes? I know it's pushing it a bit, but the dir. is set on using 500D.
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#6 Dan Goulder

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:00 PM

I know it's pushing it a bit, but the dir. is set on using 500D.

Key question: Does the director have any idea what he's doing? If the answer is yes, then you'd better try to accomodate him. If the answer is no, then maybe you can talk him into using a different stock. My guess is that your director was inspired by "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", which was shot entirely on Reala 500D, using mostly practical lighting. If you're planning on a film finish, then you should probably expect to factor in a D.I., as there will be extensive color correction to be done in post.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:26 PM

It's nuts to shoot with 500D stock and a tungsten lighting package for a COOL look when you lose two stops of light output just correcting the tungsten light or the camera from 3200K to 5500K, let alone make it even bluer than normal.

Sure, you can put Full Blue plus even more blue on a tungsten light for a cool look, or put an 80A filter on the camera plus some light blue gel on the light. It's just that you don't get much light left to work with.

I'd settle for just correcting from 3200K to 5500K for a neutral negative and then add more blue in timing in post.

Why are you working with a director who doesn't listen to his DP's recommendation as to best way to get the look that the director is asking for???
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#8 maya czep

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:28 PM

[quote name='dgoulder' date='Jul 18 2006, 07:00 PM' post='115879']
Key question: Does the director have any idea what he's doing?

Unfortunately, yes he does. He's expecting me to create an expensive scene on a shoestring budget. I was called in as a last minute replacement and definitely do not want to screw this up, esp. since things are a bit tense on set already. Follow up question: if I used an 80B or C, and added some more flourescents and 1-1/2CTB'ed tungstens, would that create a better contrast ratio? It's an int. night scene.
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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 10:36 PM

What has adding more fluorescents or gelling tungsten have to do with contrast ratio? That's the ratio of your key to fill light levels, nothing to do with the color of the lights. What's a "better" contrast ratio? A higher one or a lower one?

What are you trying to accomplish with these mixed lights? What is the effect? What source are the gelled tungstens emulating? Blue moonlight? A household practical? What are the fluorescents for? Are you trying to match the color to the tungstens?
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#10 maya czep

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 12:22 AM

[quote name='David Mullen ASC' date='Jul 18 2006, 07:36 PM' post='115884']
What has adding more fluorescents or gelling tungsten have to do with contrast ratio? That's the ratio of your key to fill light levels, nothing to do with the color of the lights. What's a "better" contrast ratio? A higher one or a lower one?

What are you trying to accomplish with these mixed lights? What is the effect?

sorry, guess i was a bit vague. i've been up for days trying to get as much info as possible...guess it's starting to show...haha. anyway, the flourescents are essentially for effect; the light I'm trying to emulate is a soft standing lamp glow, an overhead flourescent, and an over bright bathroom light. the underlying light is a moonglow with some city lights mixed in. what i mean by contrast ratio is that there is a visible shadow area as opposed to subject lighting. I'm shooting for a nice mid-range. does that help?
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#11 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:22 PM

I agree with David that a 500D stock was a poor choice for what you are trying to achieve, given the lighting you have to work with. Can the film be returned, or used for another project?

I frankly think the "look" of a mixture of lighting colors you want, using tungsten as your main light sources, calls for a tungsten balance film:

http://www.kodak.com...s....6.10&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com...s...4.4.4&lc=en
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#12 maya czep

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:37 PM

thank you everyone for all your help...really...i'd be lost without this forum. i think i know why the other dp left now. and, this IS the other project. rumor has it that the dir recieved all this film from another production and can't afford to switch. makes no sense to me either because he will just have to spend more on lights, tests, and post, but if that's what he wants, then that's what he'll get. I think I may just use an 80B and only gel certain lights. how unnatural will the skin tones appear with just an 80B?
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#13 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 01:52 PM

thank you everyone for all your help...really...i'd be lost without this forum. i think i know why the other dp left now. and, this IS the other project. rumor has it that the dir recieved all this film from another production and can't afford to switch. makes no sense to me either because he will just have to spend more on lights, tests, and post, but if that's what he wants, then that's what he'll get. I think I may just use an 80B and only gel certain lights. how unnatural will the skin tones appear with just an 80B?


The 80B won't fully correct 3200K tungsten light to suit a daylight balance film. An 80A or equivalent would be a better choice, but it has a two-stop filter factor, so you are down to an EI 125 rating. A bit of overexposure should help give slightly more flexibility in post and reduce the graininess, so you should test an EI of 100 or 80 with the 80A filter.

As you can see, by the time you do all this, a moderate speed tungsten balance film like 7212 or 7217 would have been a much better choice, especially if you want less graininess.
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#14 maya czep

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 03:29 PM

aha...I get it now...maybe I can convince him. From what I know, the director wants to create fairly dark shadows and background with soft dim illumination on the subjects to mimic a dimly lit apartment. a bit of warm tone would be ok, but given the mixed lighting situation, i'm a bit wary of using an 80A. What effect will it have on flourescents? Should I use daylight bal. bulbs in the practicals? are there any examples of mixed lighting used with 500D besides "Eternal Sunshine" and "I heart Huckabees" that would give me a better idea of how it behaves under these situations? We're not looking for a "neat and clean" look. A bit of grain and variable shadow would actually enhance the scene.

Edited by maya czep, 19 July 2006 - 03:32 PM.

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#15 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 03:45 PM

aha...I get it now...maybe I can convince him. From what I know, the director wants to create fairly dark shadows and background with soft dim illumination on the subjects to mimic a dimly lit apartment. a bit of warm tone would be ok, but given the mixed lighting situation, i'm a bit wary of using an 80A. What effect will it have on flourescents? Should I use daylight bal. bulbs in the practicals? are there any examples of mixed lighting used with 500D besides "Eternal Sunshine" and "I heart Huckabees" that would give me a better idea of how it behaves under these situations? We're not looking for a "neat and clean" look. A bit of grain and variable shadow would actually enhance the scene.


If you want dark, "rich" shadows with detail, a bit of overexposure should certainly help. Again, the 80A will properly correct your 3200K tungsten lighting for a 500D film. Filter or change the fluorescents and practicals to get the blend of coloration for the mixed lighting "look" you want. Unfortunately, 500D will be on the high side of the graininess range, especially if this is a 16mm production, when a mid speed tungsten balance film would have been a much better choice.

Hopefully, you have a good case now for using a tungsten balance film.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 05:44 PM

Shoot some tests and show him the results. Who knows, you may like the look, but the other issue is the practicality of blue filtering for low-light scenes. I'd get a little roll of 500T stock and shoot the test with both stocks.

Make sure you print and project the results -- or go into a HD telecine bay and see how they look on a high-end HD monitor.
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